In our fast food nation, there’s still something to be said about taking up the British tradition of savoring an hour (or two) over a cup of tea served with delicate finger sandwiches and sweets. And if you’ve never experienced a true afternoon tea, you owe it to yourself to book one with a group of friends for a leisurely afternoon. Legend has it that one of Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting Anna Marie Stanhope had that sinking feeling in the late afternoon after eating a minimal lunch. The Duchess of Bedford as she was known asked her servants to sneak a spot of tea and sandwiches to her room around 4 p.m. Then she decided to open up her tradition to friends, who came to Belvoir Castle to share small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, sweets and tea. The social hostesses of London quickly picked up on the practice of afternoon tea and a walk in the fields. Make like the duchess and invite a few friends. Here’s a look at the top five tea parlors in Las Vegas. You’ll thank the Brits.
1 Tea Lounge
Perhaps our favorite spot of sup on a cup of tea, the Tea Lounge at Mandarin Oriental often is confused for a waiting area on the 23rd floor where you check in. But from 2:30 to 5 p.m. you can take in the view along with the fabulous spread. It starts with a selection of loose-leaf teas such as Osmanthus Oolong with its Champagne aroma, and Pu-Erh Tou Cha, known for its cholesterol-reducing and digestive properties.
Then go for a classic afternoon tea with a selection of treats such as scones with Devonshire cream and jam, salmon, cucumber and watercress sandwiches, egg salad with chives served on brioche, curried chicken salad sandwiches and Black Forest ham and horseradish cream. Or indulge (and we insist you do) on the Chocolate Bento with its chocolate mousse cake, chocolate almond fudge cake, passion caramel ganache barquette and chocolate cocoa truffle or keep it sweet with the Miniature Cupcake Bento with vanilla, bourbon icing, red velvet, S’more, roasted marshmallows and strawberries “n” cream cupcakes. Afternoon lull no more.
Step inside the elegantly refined Four Seasons and slip down to Verandah for an a civilized afternoon of tea. The sophisticated surroundings will urge you to straighten your back a la charm school. Peruse the list of teas to find an orange pekoe or golden jasmine blossoms to pair with your sandwiches and pastries. But hurry. You only have a sliver of time from 3 to 4 p.m. weekdays to enjoy this tradition.
Four Seasons Hotel
3 Petrossian Lounge
Make your afternoon a decadent experience at the Petrossian Lounge inside the Bellagio. Sink into the brocade sofas or a velvet high-back chair and indulge in the delicacies that make up this charming ritual. Try one of the loose-leaf teas such as the Japanese Sencha green tea or the Chinese Tung Ting Oolong with its ripe peach aroma. Scones with clotted cream and preserves and an assortment of French pastries come with the service. Choose from finger and open-faced sandwiches such as smoked chicken Waldorf salad, chickpea panelle with roasted peppers and green olive mayo, watercress with mint mousse and cucumber or classic egg salad with a quail egg. A perfect way to spend the afternoon.
4 Market Tea Room
Antique shops like to keep that old school charm by offering a tea room to accompany their wares. At the Market Tea Room, you can find a treasure all its own tucked in the back among the antiques. You can nosh on homemade dishes such as soups, sandwiches and desserts among the scones and teas. But if you want a traditional high tea, order a day in advance.
5 Joël Robuchon
While technically not an afternoon tea, Joël Robuchon serves up a different type of tea experience worth the wait until after traditional tea time. It starts with the cart service that rolls up with fresh teas made from living plants. Look for eight different types of herbs, such as spearmint, peppermint, rosemary, thyme and sage. Then the infusion is created before your eyes. A treat to go along with the best French dining in Las Vegas.